Jaywalking to no longer be illegal in California

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:21 AM EDT
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Gray News) – Starting in January 2023, Californians can cross the street where they choose, if they can cross safely.

“The sentiment is very simple that we all have the right to cross the street without being fearful of being cited unnecessarily,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat representing San Francisco.

Ting’s Freedom to Walk Act has become law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.

The bill defines when an officer can stop and cite a pedestrian for jaywalking - specified as only when a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.

Ting said state data showed between 2018 and 2020, Black Californians were 4 and 1/2 times more likely than white Californians to be stopped by police for jaywalking. He also said that jaywalking fines more often hurt lower-income families, who often live in neighborhoods that have insufficient crosswalks.

The California Sheriffs Association opposed the jaywalking legislation, issuing a statement centered solely on the state’s high pedestrian fatality count.

Limiting enforcement of California’s laws that are designed to avoid traffic collisions and improve the safety of all who use the roadways will only exacerbate the existing problem, they said.

The new law will go into effect in January of next year.